Disciplining kids is one of the most challenging aspects of parenting. While the term discipline is associated with punishment and consequences, the word is actually rooted more on imparting knowledge, habit and skill.
There are many approaches to disciplining children and each parent has their own methods that vary from another parent. There is no foolproof way to parent but, according to experts, there are common discipline mistakes that parents need to avoid:
1. Being overly harsh or negative
- Avoid bombarding your child with ‘no’ and ‘stop’ and ‘that’s bad!’
- Moderate restrictive behavior with constructive responses that will tell your child what is right rather than highlighting what they’re doing wrong.
- As an example, before saying ‘no’ try something more constructive that will explain to your child why they shouldn’t do something.
2. Delayed discipline
- Avoid waiting too long to address bad behavior. Reprimanding a young child for something they did hours ago may be pointless because chances are they won’t remember exactly what happened thus asking for an explanation would be moot. Additionally, you would have to explain what you observed to jog their memory and it won’t have the same effect.
- It is best to address occurrences as close to the bad behavior as possible.
3. Telling your child a “lie”
- Fibbing or not following through and eventually being found out can be quite a pickle to get out of.
- Instead of telling a little white lie to exaggerate your point or any other reason, try being honest.
- Honesty is the best policy and explaining why you lied may build doubt in your little one’s mind.
- Don’t compromise your authority and show your child that lying is not something that is done or tolerated in the household. Always lead by example.
4. United front
- You and your partner should always be on the same page.
- By undermining the decision your partner made and reversing it, makes your significant other the “bad guy” and shows an inconsistency in your joint parenting.
- Explaining is always a good idea but going on in a lengthy and detailed explanation, going around in circles with multiple mentions of your point can get exhausting.
- You will lose your child’s attention or worse, confuse them with the lesson you’re trying to impart.
6. Unrealistic expectations
- There are times when we take for granted the extent of what kids know.
- Do not assume that your child will know everything if it’s something you haven’t tackled before.
- They have not developed a familiarity with most social norms and are only in the process of developing impulse-control skills.
- Things may take time and repetition so be patient and ensure your discipline methods are appropriate to your little one’s age.
Remember, discipline is a way to teach your child self-control. By establishing clear boundaries in methods that are within reason, you can instill proper behavior, recognition between right and wrong as well as values that will last them a lifetime.